By Stephen Tuttle | July 1, 2017
Jeff Sieting is the Kalkaska Village president. He has a Facebook page on which he describes himself as a “white, Christian, conservative American.” He likes to post niceties he finds elsewhere.
Sieting recently posted an especially noxious bit of business that included this:
“Kill every last Muslim. Burn every last copy of their satanic book. Burn every last mosque to the ground. Burn every last dwelling they have occupied.”
Well, how delightful. It sounds pretty much like some unhinged jihadist barking, “Death to the infidels.”
What especially catches the eye is the reference to “their satanic book,” the Quran.
Really, what kind of allegedly holy book would call for the stoning death of a son disobeying his father or for praying incorrectly, or for a woman falsely claiming she is a virgin or for breaking the Sabbath? There are more than two dozen capital offenses for “crimes” other than murder. Not to mention tolerance of polygamy, adultery, and slavery (though you're supposed to be nice to your slaves), plus all manner of advocacy for wars against all sorts of perceived enemies.
Oh, wait ... that's all actually in the Old Testament of the Bible, which some believe we should be following literally.
The point here is that the Quran is hardly the only holy book with violent passages, including calls to violence in the name of somebody's god. Judaism's Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, can be extremely harsh. The Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's holy books, is a lyrically written — or at least lyrically translated from the original Sanskrit — exhortation on going to war against perceived enemies.
There isn't anything unique about the Quran's calls to violence. What is unusual is there are still those who would like to back up behavior five centuries to the time it was written. It's a reasonably tiny group that has caused Sieting and others to recommend obliterating the entire religion.
There are, according to the CIA, no more than 25,000 to 35,000 active ISIS fighters. Al Qaida is down to no more than 1,000 active Taliban fighters not many more. Add a few thousands involved with various mutant offshoots, and there are perhaps as many as 50,000 jihadists murdering in the name of Islam.
There are more than a billion Muslims. So significantly more than 99.9 percent of Muslims go about their daily lives without plotting attacks or the downfall of western civilization, or attempting to inflict Sharia law on Americans. Like most Christians, Jews, and Hindus, they have moved away from the most unreasonable and violent suggestions in their holy books, recognizing they were written of and for different times.
Jihadists, on the other hand, much like handfuls of Christians, Jews, and Hindus, have found the ugliest passages from their holy book and turned that into their scriptures. Their only commandment is hatred; their sacrament, murder. They all seem to want kill everybody else.
(An exception involving the evil kingdom that is Saudi Arabia must be noted here. Their monarchy, the House of Saud, has inflicted a version of Sharia law on the populace, and it still lashes, beheads, and occasionally stones people, including adulterous women but not men. The Saudi monarchy’s extremist version of Islam, Wahhabism, has been the foundation for most jihadist leaders, including Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 hijackers.)
Every belief system seems to have its extremists and lunatics, and all major religions — even the peace loving Buddhists, whose holy book, the Tipitaka, does not advocate violence — have engaged in ugly wars, large and small, in the name of their beliefs. Those few who have bastardized Islam beyond recognition to satisfy their own blood lust are just the latest in a long line of religious extremists. Blaming Islam for these murderers is akin to blaming Christianity for the Ku Klux Klan.
Mr. Sieting, whose post did not threaten any specific individual, is protected by the First Amendment. He has the right to be every bit as hateful and stupid as he wants to be, and he apparently wants to be plenty of both.
It is ironic that anyone professing to be Christian would advocate murder. A detailed search of the Bible finds nothing suggesting the annihilation of entire religions or advocacy for any of Sieting's post. There is plenty, however, that counsels against most all of it, not to mention a pesky commandment that's pretty specific about killing.
The hate-mongers among us are free to spit venom in any direction they choose. But self-proclaimed Christians who believe we should kill all Muslims might want to skim forward a bit in their holy book and check out what a man named Jesus had to say about violence and hatred. You know, the guy on whom the religion is based.